Just what we needed: Another proprietary form of CRAP (DRM)

Just what we needed: Another proprietary form of CRAP (DRM)

Summary: I feel like Oliver Twist saying "Please sir, more."  Are we sadomasochists asking for another beating from our dominatrixes (Steve Jobs: Head Mistress)?


I feel like Oliver Twist saying "Please sir, more."  Are we sadomasochists asking for another beating from our dominatrixes (Steve Jobs: Head Mistress)?  Go ahead.  Send me some art.  I'll use it.

It's bad enough that if I download a video from the video section of Apple's iTunes Music Store (iTMS), it only works in the iTunes client or on a video iPod. And then, if I download a video from a merchant that complies with Microsoft's PlaysForSure technology, it will only work on PlaysForSure-compliant playback technologies (portable, Windows Media Player, etc) but not Apple's iPods or in iTunes.  Now, we have yet another proprietary form of DRM (aka C.R.A.P.) --- and a very untested one at that -- in the market thanks to the deal that the Warner Bros. movie studio  has entered into with Bittorrent. 

On the one hand, the deal sends a clear message that Warner Bros. will not subject itself to the sort of abuse that Steve Jobs just handed out to the top four record labels.  Great.  The movie industry is trying to figure out how not to repeat the mistake of giving Steve Jobs the keys to its business that the music industry just made.  At the same time, as my colleague Dan Farber points out, it knows it has to experiment with Internet-based distribution models and that to do so, it needs to seek out massive digital distrbution channels like iTMS.  In that case, Bittorrent seems like a natural choice. 

But, on the other hand, to go with yet another proprietary DRM technology when the market is already full of exisiting non-interoperable ones that are screwing it up is quite an unnatural act and evidence that either Warner Bros., the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), or the movie industry as a whole have no clue how to right a ship that's about sink as it floods with stupidity. 

So.  Let's see.  I need PlaysForSure-compliant technology to playback content X, FairPlay-compliant technology to playback content Y, and Bittorrent technology to playback content Z.  Why don't we bring back BetaMax and VHS while we're at it?  When I recently spoke to Tom Jacobs, Sun's director of engineering in Sun Labs, about the Open Media Commons and the freely deployable version of DRM it was trying to bring to market, Jacobs told me that the entertainment industry  has been asking for an open interoperable solution like Project DReaM to get itself out of the jam it's in now. With idiotic moves like this (by the entertainment industry), I'm beginning to wonder if that's really the case. Or, if maybe it just has no clue how to get out of that jam, even with companies like Sun trying to help it.

Boy, they really stuck it to Steve Jobs now.  And you.

Warning: Don't fall for this C.R.A.P. 

Topic: Apple

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  • DRM? No Thanks.

    At one time I was looking around to buy HDTV stuff. Now I have lost all interest. Me buy DRM?ed stuff? ? yeah, right ?
    P. Douglas
  • Hoist by their own petard

    You fail to realize the motivation here--he who controls the DRM controls the market. Why would any greedy CEO choose to go with an open format which gives a level playing field when he could try to force his format on the market, making him king?

    Which will lead to the downfall of our current media companies. They're more interested in doing what may pay off in short term gains than in doing what's best for their business in the long run.

    And as far as the supposed "open" DRM, it's just as offensive as any other product out there. I don't want Warner Bros. controlling my computer or any of my electronic devices. They need me more than I need them. If they can't meet my terms of sale, then I won't buy their product. I'll still have plenty to do with my leisure time, but they'll be out of business.
    tic swayback
    • Why is DRM any worse than the stuff they load on CDs and DVDs?

      Since the original Napster the big fat cats of the music and
      entertainment world have sicked their lawyers on pirates and
      then made CDs and DVDs more expensive by putting anti copy
      schemes including Sony's rootkit. Now Steve Jobs comes along
      and shows the world how to sell digital music. Then Microsoft
      follows with an even worse and more restricting form of digital
      music. Steve got their first and everyone is complaining, but if
      Microsoft had had the foresight to come up with a digital music
      plan and everyone in the world used their DRM you wouldn't
      care. I think Steve Jobs is a kind of a hero for coming up with a
      way of distributing legal digital music and making a model
      everyone can live with, especially him. Apple has sold a billion
      songs and faster than MacDonalds sold a billion Big Macs, still
      Apple makes very little money on the music. Then the Fat cats
      want to force Apple to raise prices because they don't make
      money on the ipods. This all about greed and degrees of greed.
      If you hate DRM then pirate the music. It's still there. That's
      another form of greed, not necessarily legal but greed
      nonetheless. The losers will always be the fans and the artists.
      Everyone in between is motivated by greed. If the artists made
      $18 per CD sold, Bill Gates would not be the richest man in the
      world and the Rolling Stones would be like gods.
      • DRM != Copy Control

        If DRM was only an anti-copy scheme it wouldn't be that bad. The problem with DRM is that it is an anti-access scheme.

        In this case the studios not only don't care if you copy the work wholsale but are betting that you will so that they only have to breifly seed the torrent for a short while and let others pay for the bandwith. You can make as many copies as you want.

        The DRM won't allow you to play any of these copies though unless you cough up a buck. It isn't copy control but rather play control. Do you see the difference? Where in copyright law does it say the right holder has the ability to control reading and playing the works? Do you understand the significance?

        Personally I think this will fail, although who knows iTunes didn't fail and interestingly enough the UK itunes store is selling albums for more than what you can get in the stores. The same is also true in the US with some albums.
        Edward Meyers
  • More! More! Harder!

    Actually, although I know you were being sarcastic, "more" is almost certainly the best possible thing that can happen now.

    I think Sony needs their own DRM schemes for audio, books, and video. Maybe one for software itself, too. Etc. for the others.

    The big problem is that there are, after all, only about five members to the Big Medial Cartel. Even if they each have their own schemes for audio, video, and text you only get about 21 to deal with (counting Microsoft and Apple.) That may not be enough.

    Just remember, if you want change: "the worse, the better."
    Yagotta B. Kidding
    • I agree

      [i]Actually, although I know you were being sarcastic, "more" is almost certainly the best possible thing that can happen now.[/i]

      Yes. The more DRM systems there are out there, the sooner the system will implode.
      P. Douglas
  • I'll vote with my wallet

    Seeing as how the big boys (i.e. MS, Apple, Sony, Warner Bros, all media giants, etc), are bound and determined to make my potential digital content purchases as big of a pain in the @ss as posssible, and they seem to want to treat me (and others), the consumer, like a criminal, I'm not even going to bother making any kind of purchase of digital content via the web/my computer whatsoever.

    If they are going to make the digital content experience as bad as possible with their proprietary DRM nonsense, they're not going to get any of my hard earned cash.

    And I expect that there will be a major consumer backlash, if the big boys are not careful. They are truly playing with fire with DRM.

    So screw 'em. Let their businesses go down the tolilet, while we consumers gladly spend our entertainment dollars on something of much greater value.
    • But vote with your WHOLE wallet!!!

      Sony proved that CDs and DVDs can and DO have DRM on them. Remember that???

      Therefore, WHY buy a CD for +/-$15 for only ONE 'decent' song and DRMed to DEATH???

      AND why pay +/-$20 for a DVD that hits you FIRST thing with advertizing :| and DRMed to DEATH???

      THINK about these things. Maybe if a TOTAL boycott of all members of the RIAA were boycotted they just MIGHT get the $CLUE!!!!!

      Just use your Search Engine to find the Websites of the RIAA and the MPA and sift them to find the lists of their members. Those lists will SHOCK the living daylights out of you!
  • DRM

    Reading the posts on DRM provokes two thoughts:

    First, it seems that the big media conglomerates are in fact creating a monopoly which enables them to charge excessively high prices for their products. This is illegal in many countries, and should be questioned.

    Second, I find that films reappear on my cable television network more often than I play them from a DVD, so I am buying fewer DVDs now. Also, digital recording machines which allow you to burn a DVD from digital TV are becoming steadily cheaper, and so far there are no legal constraints on such recording. So I think for video there are alternatives to the DRM problem.

    I don't know much about music. I find CDs very expensive, and since I like classical music, I am interested in downloads from people like www.classical.com, which are cheaper than CDs. and I play it on the hi-fi.

    In conclusion, I feel that the problem is price. People copy because CDs, DVDs etc are too expensive. So we need an effective legal alternative distribution system which competes with the monopoly being imposed on us by the big media companies, with the help of government. Only this kind of competition can make the DRM problem really go away.
    • david

      >Also, digital recording machines which allow you to burn a DVD from digital TV are becoming steadily cheaper, and so far there are no legal constraints on such recording.<

      Those machines have built-in hardware DRM installed in them!

      >People copy because CDs, DVDs etc are too expensive.<

      Don't you mean that people SHARE audio/visual materials because these materials are way too expensive?

      I personally don't copy such materials on my computer any more since Sony's rootkit cost me a hard drive. But when I did, I only did so for backup in order to PRESERVE the ORIGINAL PAID for copy or to make my own mix of music from several CDs to play in my car or portable stereo.

      DRM forces people to go buy a NEW copy of a CD or DVD if the one they already have gets lost or screwed up in some way. This makes the RIAA/MPA MORE $$$$$$$M-O-N-E-Y$$$$$$$$.

      In the case of such digital items that are no longer 'in print' one is up the creek with no paddle!!! THIS is where sharing can come in, but the RIAA/MPA don't care about that. All THEY care about is their precious $$$$$$$M-O-N-E-Y$$$$$$$$!!!!!

      BTW: Don't think the artists are making a killing on their OWN materials, either. They have been screwed by the RIAA/MPA since the mid 50s!
  • The cat ruined several of my CDs

    She knocked them from a shelf, putting cracks in some.Fortunately
    I have copies. I broke a DVD. No worry! Machines hooked up right
    can overcome current DRM. When that changes I'll go hike the
    Appalachian Trail without any electronic devices on my person.
    • Nice thought but

      make sure you don't go have any surgeries done!

      You just MIGHT end up with an electronic device IN your person! Ever hear of RFID Chips?
  • BitTorrent is NOT DRM

    I'm behind you all the way on the stupidity of the technology wars, but BitTorrent is a distribution method (channel) NOT a form of DRM.

    BitTorrent could (unfortunately) be used to distribute, PlaysForSure content, FairPlay content, ISO or anything.

    It's inaccurate, and a substantial error for a technology site, to imply that BitTorrent is in anyway related to DRM technology.